For Second Time This Month, Israeli Military Imposes Closure on West Bank City

Closure lifted two days later; move intended to prevent further 'copycat' attacks on Israelis by residents of Qabatiyah, not as means of punishment, army said.

An Israeli Border Policeman takes aim during clashes with Palestinian protesters in the city of Qabatiyah, near the West Bank town of Jenin,on February 22, 2016.
AFP

The Israeli Defense Forces imposed a closure Sunday night on Qabatiyah, located in the northern West Bank, not allowing any Palestinians to enter or leave the city.

The closure was lifted Tuesday evening.

The IDF said the move is intended to prevent so-called copycat terror attacks by Palestinians on Israelis, in light of the large number of such assaults in recent days in the area, but it is not a punishment for these incidents.

On Sunday, a 16-year-old Palestinian from Qabatiyah attempted to stab soldiers on patrol south of Nablus; they shot and killed him. Afterward, the closure was imposed.

On Monday another Palestinian attempted an attack in the same location. Soldiers saw the man running at them with a knife drawn and shot at him, but the Palestinian fled.

Residents of Qabatiyah, with a population of about 20,000, will only be permitted to leave the city for humanitarian reasons, such as for medical treatment of pregnant women, and so on. Most of the entrances to the locale have been blocked off with boulders, and soldiers have surrounded the area and are stopping traffic.

A three-day closure was imposed recently on Qabatiyah after the simultaneous shooting and stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on February 3 by three young men from the city; in that incident, Hadar Cohen, a female Border Police officer, was killed.

The IDF says that more than 10 Palestinians from the city have carried out terror attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers during the wave of Palestinian violence in the last five months. Most of these terrorists are members of the same social circle, and some are related.

The 16-year-old attacker on Sunday, Kusay Abu Aruv, was a cousin of one of the terrorists involved in the Damascus Gate attack.